Bob Ehrlich: Acting Out

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The Donald Trump era has witnessed many unique displays of opposition over the past three years. These very public, well-reported incidents are guaranteed fodder for the anti-Trump media, as they typically include well-known celebrities acting out their dissatisfaction with any and all things Trump.

Check it out:

Madonna: The well-attended Women’s March on Washington to protest the 2016 election included a speech by the aging pop star wherein she first told the event’s detractors “F— you!” She then continued to express her outrage by saying she had “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.”

The Cast of ‘Hamilton’: In November 2016, the cast of the Broadway hit had unscripted words for Vice President Mike Pence (sitting in the audience) at the end of its performance — words that spoke to how “anxious” the cast was about the new administration’s views on “our planet, our children, our parents, [and] our inalienable rights.”

Gillette: The razor company that has long-championed “manly men” ran a two-minute, pre-Super Bowl commercial aimed at today’s often-discussed and allegedly out-of-control “toxic masculinity.” The preachy commercial met with a decidedly mixed reaction, with plenty of Gillette’s long-time customers pledging to boycott the company for its “anti-male” ad.

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Robert DeNiro: The Oscar-winning actor has repeatedly used vulgar language in his public appearances to describe President Trump, punctuating his desires with a public wish to “punch Trump in the face.”

Lindsey Vonn: The U.S. skier assured the world that she attended the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to represent “the people of the United States, not the president.” She added she would decline a White House invitation if she were to win gold (she did not).

Megan Rapinoe: The soccer star promised to boycott the “F—ing White House” if the U.S. Women’s National Team won the World Cup (they did). She has said her teammates would follow suit, and they plan to come to Congress (at Sen. Chuck Schumer’s invitation) to emphasize their opposition to President Trump.

House Democrats: Eighty-five House Democrats are signed up to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump despite special counsel Robert Mueller’s finding of no collusion with Russia.

Dining Out: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were confronted at different restaurants in the aftermath of Brett Kavanagh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Both incidents had the intended effect: an uncomfortable meal and a negative national news story.

Colin Kaepernick: The pig-socks-wearing one-time NFL quarterback has repeatedly degraded the president, law enforcement and America while leading the kneeling protest movement during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” His latest outburst was to induce Nike to remove its Betsy Ross flag shoes from store shelves (it did).

I could make this list five pages long, but the point is clear: Numerous of America’s high-profile elite have been acting out during the Trump presidency.

Some may wonder why the incidents have not decreased in frequency or intensity given that the president has been in office nearly three years. I am not in that group. Indeed, there are a number of reasons the angry resistance is as emotional today as it was on Nov. 9, 2016:

The Economy: Where to begin? Try as they might (and they will), it will be a tough sell for detractors to minimize the Trump era’s sustained wage growth, record low unemployment, quiet inflation, expansive energy sector and record-setting stock market.

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Teflon: The ultimate test will, of course, occur in November 2020, but President Trump’s public ratings have steadied in the mid-40s despite a predisposition toward Twitter wars, senior staff turnover, belittling of political opponents and super-aggressive salesmanship.

Mueller Report: That dull thud heard round the world a few weeks back represented two years’ worth of dashed progressive hopes for a truncated Trump administration. But what was a major disappointment got worse as a new attorney general set his guns on how and why so many Barack Obama-era officials at the Justice Department and the FBI could have signed off on a transparently phony dossier while simultaneously going out of their way to protect former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the investigation of her email debacle.

The Democratic Field: The Democrats have attracted a large and diverse field of competitors, many of whom have won statewide races in the past. Yet it does not take a political genius to figure out that the policy positions advocated by the leading contenders are far outside the political mainstream, even angering the difficult-to-anger House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It’s a stretch to run to the center after you have spent a year in the far recesses of the left field bleachers.

In 2018, I wrote a column wherein I alluded to Winston Churchill’s widely quoted admonition to refrain from “throwing stones at every dog that barks.”

Churchill knew that too many thrown stones would simply overwhelm public attention — the shock value and shelf life of a political attack would be lost in the process.

Nevertheless, it is unlikely the angry mob will back off President Trump anytime soon. They just can’t help throwing those stones …

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Robert Ehrlich is a former governor of Maryland as well as a former United States congressman and state legislator. He is the author of “Bet You Didn’t See That One Coming: Obama, Trump, and the End of Washington’s Regular Order,” in addition to “Turn This Car Around,” “America: Hope for Change" and “Turning Point.” Ehrlich is currently a counsel at the firm of King & Spalding in Washington, D.C.